Letcher County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of 2010, the population was 24,519, a decrease of 3.0% from the 2000 census. Its county seat is Whitesburg, population 1,600. The county, founded in 1842, is named for Robert P. Letcher, Governor of Kentucky from 1840-1844.
It is a dry county, with the only exceptions being the Highland Winery, the city of Whitesburg, and the city of Jenkins.
The killing of filmmaker Hugh O'Connor by a local landowner in 1967 brought Letcher County to national attention.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 339.12 square miles (878.3 km2), of which 339.04 square miles (878.1 km2) (or 99.98%) is land and 0.07 square miles (0.18 km2) (or 0.02%) is water. Letcher County's natural areas include Bad Branch Falls and the Lilley Cornett Woods.
Cities and Towns
- Harry M. Caudill (1922–1990), author, historian, professor, lawyer, legislator, and environmentalist
- Emery L. Frazier (Mayor, state representative, Chief Clerk of the U.S. Senate, Secretary of the U.S. Senate, 1896–1973)
- Gary Stewart (Country music singer and musician, 1944–2003)
- Martha Carson (Country/gospel music singer, 1920–2004)
- Lee Sexton (Country, bluegrass, old-time musician)
- Tom Gish, died 2008, publisher of the Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg, grew up in the county
- Francis Gary Powers (August 17, 1929 – August 1, 1977) was an American pilot whose CIA U-2 spy plane was shot down while over the Soviet Union, causing the 1960 U-2 incident.
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